A 7-Year-Old’s Death-Charges Filed Against One Teen as Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Another Suspect
Shortly after dropping murder charges against another young man connected to the death, a judge in Cook County on Thursday ordered the man, 19, to be held without bail for the shooting death of a 7-year-old youngster inside his West Side home.
Authorities say Akeem Briscoe was an unintended victim in the Oct. 26 shooting death of 19-year-old West Garfield Park resident Joseph Serrano. Serrano is charged with first-degree murder. The police reported that a 16-year-old kid was charged with first-degree murder on Monday as a juvenile.
Cook County prosecutors said Akeem was shot in the abdomen around 8:15 p.m. while brushing his teeth before bed in his residence on the 2600 block of West Potomac Avenue. Prosecutors said Serrano and the other two suspects, one of whom was a minor, aimed their fire at a car containing Akeem’s family of four when it was parked behind their townhouse.
Recent shooting was payback for an earlier shooting involving a member of the Campbell Boys gang
According to Assistant State’s Attorney Michael Pekara, the recent shooting was payback for an earlier shooting involving a member of the Campbell Boys gang. Pekara claims that Serrano and an accomplice fired a total of 16 shots.40-caliber handguns at the car, missing all of its occupants. Somebody shot back at them.
Authorities claim that Akeem was shot in the back by a bullet that entered his residence through a window. The three suspects were seen on surveillance tape making their way to the crime scene and leaving it shortly after the shots were fired. According to Pekara, the criminals’ identities were established by footage taken by a camera at the liquor store moments before the shooting.
Serrano’s private attorney, John McNamara, said that his client was a high school senior who had worked part-time and helped support his six siblings after their mother passed away from cancer last year. The defense lawyer argued that the judge should rule against the prosecution because no one had positively identified Serrano as the shooter and the evidence against him was primarily circumstantial.
Authorities have “voluminous circumstantial evidence” against Serrano
After the 25-minute hearing, Judge Barbara Lynette Dawkins approved the state’s request to deny bail, citing the “exhaustive” investigation by law enforcement, which included multiple surveillance camera footages to trace the suspects and social media records obtained through a court order. She also mentioned the “voluminous circumstantial evidence” that authorities have against Serrano.
A murder charge had been withdrawn against an 18-year-old male in connection with the same shooting just days before Serrano’s hearing. According to the case files, Chicago Police Chief of Detectives Brendan Deenihan authorized the filing of felony charges. The state’s attorney’s felony review section has not always given its blessing before the police have brought felony charges against a suspect.
A spokesperson for the state’s attorney’s office stated in writing that her office “has not yet reached a charging decision” on the 18-year-old and that charges are possible if new evidence is discovered. The Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office “has an ethical obligation only to bring forth charges where they are supported by the facts, evidence, and law.”
The statement reads. “We will always be prepared to file charges if and when new information becomes available. Too many innocent people are being killed in the senseless violence plagues our communities, but we must remain true to our ethical and legal norms while assessing accusations. ”
When asked for comment on the dropped charges, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman said she would direct reporters to the state’s attorney’s office instead. Serrano will next appear in court on Friday.